Strong economic powers like China may take over as the global leaders in renewable energy and leave the U.S. economy depending on Beijing, state governors said. A bipartisan group of state governors working through a wind and solar energy coalition called on President Donald Trump to put his political weight behind the nation’s renewable energy sector. “If the United States does not continue robust federal research and development programs in wind and solar energy, we will cede leadership in these critical technologies to other nations that have demonstrated ongoing high priority commitments to these technologies, such as China,” the letter read.
The message is the latest indication that Trump’s criticism of renewable energy puts him at odds with much of corporate America and members of his own party. Since he was elected, Republican governors in Illinois and Michigan signed legislation backing wind and solar. Last month, more than 600 U.S. companies issued a statement urging Trump not to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, saying it will generate trillions of dollars in investments.
McConnell filed cloture on Monday night for Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to lead the Office of Management and Budget, Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Wilbur Ross to head the Commerce Department, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to be the Interior secretary, Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be Energy secretary.
The most important thing about a carbon tax plan proposed last week may be the people behind it: prominent Republicans like James Baker III, George Shultz and Henry Paulson Jr. Their endorsement of the idea, variations of which have been suggested before, may be a breakthrough for a party that has closed its eyes to the perils of man-made climate change and done everything in its power to thwart efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This gang of Republican elder statesmen — they call themselves the Climate Leadership Council — is not made up of the usual environmentalists, which is why their proposal might gain traction, though probably not right away.
The party of Lincoln now has the opportunity of a lifetime to bring their ideas that create jobs and inspire the ingenuity of a nation. It’s an extraordinary time to think outside of the box – or rather to look beyond the Beltway – for innovative ideas that fellow Republicans have embraced, such as the promise of clean energy solutions, that have had real results for everyday Americans.
A Pew Research poll showed 65 percent of Americans support expanding clean energy over fossil fuels. Video provided by Newsy Newslook Coal may make a political comeback in Washington, where President Trump is eager to make good on his promise to revive the sagging industry. But politics aside, it’s the greener forms of energy that are changing substantially the way the USA produces, uses and even saves energy, particularly when it comes to electricity.
Wind turbines across the Great Plains states produced, for the first time, more than half the region’s electricity Sunday. The power grid that supplies a corridor stretching from Montana to the Texas Panhandle was getting 52.1 percent of its power from wind at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, Little Rock, Arkansas-based Southwest Power Pool Inc. said in a statement Monday.
In a letter today, Govs. Sam Brownback (R) of Kansas and Gina Raimondo (D) of Rhode Island said renewable energy growth “is an American success story built on federal research and development, state policy leadership, private sector investment and ingenuity.” They wrote, “Last year, the country’s solar industry employed over 200,000 and added 31,000 new jobs. Most of the installations are in rural areas and have provided landowners another income option.”
“The nation’s wind and solar energy resources are transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the passage of the Homestead Act over 150 years ago,” Kansas Republican Sam Brownback and Rhode Island Democrat Gina Raimondo wrote in the letter, on behalf of eight Republican governors and 12 Democrat state leaders. Trump’s America First energy plan posted on the White House website calls for increasing coal, oil and natural gas production — making no mention of renewables. He has derided wind and solar power as uneconomical. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
The construction of wind farms in North Dakota began in the late 1990s and only recently have started to surge, Christmann said. The potential for capturing wind for energy in North Dakota is high, particularly in the western and south-central part of the state, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which ranked North Dakota sixth in 2014 for wind energy potential and 11th in utility-scale generation. “We see incredibly strong activity across the country,” AWEA senior analyst Hannah Hunt said. “We do expect to see this success story continue.”